Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sadly, they were right

I was standing outside the worship hall with a pen and my notebook, talking to the stories' photographer when the black dude from the the Boston Public Health Commission came up to me.

"I need your card. You know this story is going to be huge, right?," he said.

No, there was no way to know that seven days after I reported that the city of Boston was beginning to crack down on makeshift memorials, that 20-year-old Analicia Perry would get killed at one them. She was bending down to light a candle for her dead brother.

Someone shot her in the face.

I told the story of James Green's friends and family. They built a special memorial in the section of Dorchester where he was killed. It was taken down by the police, sparking a public forum in Dorchester on July 6. I was all over it.

During an interview, I asked the superintendent of the Police Department to explain why the memorials pose a public safety threat because I didn't understand why. Or maybe I didn't care. I had come to the conclusion through reporting the story that the memorials were good for the healing process, a positive display of solidarity.

After all, I watched young boys lead 50 people in prayer. I listened to friends talk about wanting to get out of the 'hood, but not knowing how. They knew now, that death was final. A sad lesson, but a lesson nonetheless.

The superintendent responded by saying that the memorials are dangerous because folks who didn't like the victim would know where to find the victims friends and family, among other issues that get explained in the story.

So when I learned that the girl who had been killed was in fact killed at a memorial for her brother, I became useless at the office. I got the call from a source who was just as shocked as I was. Turns out, all of the communities' greatest fears have been realized with this shooting -- the black dude was right, too. This issue and the story, is huge. The Globe's Adrienne Samuels talks to Perry's friends:

Members of the group did everything together: They went clubbing, made T-shirts with glittery letters from a craft store. For Perry's 20th birthday earlier this month, some of them had flown to Atlanta. It was the first time Perry had traveled in a plane. She had been enchanted by the city and seemed to see in it new possiblities.

The South End woman had mused about a future life there with her 4-year-old daughter as she and her friends walked down the sidewalk that night.

Minutes later, she was shot in the face as she knelt to light a candle on the fourth anniversary of the death of her brother, Robert Perry.

A woman was gracious -- and thoughtful -- enough to write this letter which ran in the paper the same day Perry was gunned down. Her letter will be read at a hearing and press confernce on the issue this afternoon at City Hall.

I'll be reading the Globe's coverage on the issue just like everyone else. (read my nickname on the side there) I completed the story on the eve (read: way before) all of the attention the issue is getting and honestly, I was hoping the black guy from the Public Health Commission was right. But not this right. Not one getting killed mourning another.


Editor's note: Here's today's coverage in the Boston Globe concerning the issue.

Posted by Darren Sands at 12:41 AM | link

Read or Post a Comment

I read about sad...too many people dyin up there...and young ones at that. We gotta stop killin each other.


Posted by Anonymous Tchad @ 4:03 PM, July 26, 2006 #

Wow I never heard of this, but the way you tell the story really kept me interested. Very well written.

Posted by Blogger Maria @ 5:56 PM, July 26, 2006 #

Thank you Maria.

Posted by Blogger D. Sands @ 12:30 PM, July 27, 2006 #

In a war, nobody's safe.

I had dinner with my ex and her best friend one night couple years ago, then a week later her friend is ambushed outside of his mom's house taking out laundry, shot by three different caliber weapons fired by three different shooters. Later on, it's revealed his murder - still unsolved by the way - was payback for something his dad did.

As much as we in journalism try to make crimes seem "senseless" ... they are often not. Unfortunately, it's very hard to get the real "story," because most in our profession aren't able to cultivate sources in the criminal world, or we are, publish what we learn.

Posted by Blogger Slav @ 7:54 PM, July 27, 2006 #

that's crazy! i'd never heard of this but it makes sense if you're a criminal to find their loved ones at their memorial. that's horrible.

Posted by Blogger jameil1922 @ 8:12 PM, July 28, 2006 #

Darren thanks for bringing this to our attention. I've often wondered about what happens to the memorials that are erected to honor victims of violence. It'd be of great use to us to find out how local leaders in America's cities will stop the violence which is raining down on us from Boston to Baltimore. I think an end to some of this violence would be the most appropriate memorial.

Posted by Anonymous CNEL @ 12:57 PM, August 01, 2006 #
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